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This weekend, it’s jazz-related concerts galore!

Brooklyn-based ensemble Red Baraat makes its debut at Orchestra Hall on Friday, April 25 at 8 pm. Critics have described their performance as “a shot of pure adrenalin.” Established in 2008, Red Baraat is an eight-piece band from Brooklyn, New York. The brainchild of Sunny Jain, the group has been celebrated worldwide for its live performances of original sound — a blending of North Indian bhangra rhythms, New Orleans brass band, jazz, go-go, brass funk, and hip hop. Sunny Jain is known as a rising star in the jazz world. Continue Reading →

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Ruben and Lalah play well in the Twin Cities

By Raymond Jackson
Contributing Writer

 

 

 

 

On a great feeling Sunday evening, Ruben Studdard and Lalah Hathaway started their 2014 tour at The Dakota Nightclub, located in downtown Minneapolis, in grand fashion!  

Although the previewing marked Ruben as the marquee, once the show began it was quite apparent that there was no specific marquee involved in this performance. They were both simply fantastic. They began the show together with a five piece band and two background vocalists, who too, were really good. During the opening, two duet ballads, the dinner crowd knew they were destined to receive an after dinner mint, that would be the most favorable they had tasted in quite some time. Continue Reading →

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The Art Cunningham Show: over two decades of Black history through Black media

 

 

By Dwight Hobbes
Contributing Writer

 

There is no more effective means of communicating than the media, particularly the visual media and especially television, since every home has at least one set. How far, after all, do you think the present celebration of Black History Month would’ve got without the media? Its inception came back in 1926, founded by Carter G. Woodson as Negro History Week. It is undeniable the impact media communication has had, growing from the first celebration by Black United Students at Kent State University in 1970 to America acknowledging Black History Month in 1976, President Gerald Ford making it official.  

All this is said to underscore that Art Cunningham, creator-host of The Art Cunningham Show for 23 years, put the issues-oriented program on the air as a means to get voices of the African American community expressed that otherwise went unheard. Continue Reading →

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Cable networks using Black sitcoms to draw more viewers

 

 

By Charles Hallman
Staff writer

According to Nielsen, Blacks watch almost 40 percent more television than any other group. As a result, Black-themed sitcoms and reality shows seemingly are now hot properties on cable. But not on just BET, TV One and Centric, three Black-oriented channels, but several mainstream outlets as well: TV Land has The Soul Man. Nick at Nite has Instant Mom. Tyler Perry’s House of Payne has been on TBS since 2007, and Meet the Browns debuted on the same channel two years later in 2009. Continue Reading →

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My Country ‘Tis of Thee: My Faith, My Family, Our Future

Ellison’s bio a cutting-edge tale of resisting bias religious and racial
 
By Dwight Hobbes

Contributing Writer

 

Unequivocally a singular success, Congressional Rep. Keith Ellison is one of the more fascinating figures in contemporary politics — indeed, an unprecedented, historic presence. Anyone who doesn’t believe he’s capable of becoming the second Black president of these United States needs merely consider this: How likely was it that with the country still rankling from 9/11, he accomplished a virtually unthinkable feat — becoming the first Muslim elected to Congress? My Country ‘Tis of Thee: My Faith, My Family, Our Future (Gallery Books/Karen Hunter Publishing, $25) is a newly published memoir cum biography and, whether you admire or abhor his consistently controversial stands on hot-button issues — for instance, the proposed mosque at ground zero, downtown Manhattan site of Al-Kaida’s 2001 terrorist attack on America — the book is a significant, definitively informing work that belongs in the library of every American — Black, White, Brown, Muslim, Protestant, Catholic, whatever — who wishes to know what he or she is talking about when they discuss the consequence of Keith Ellison. It should surprise no one that a significant amount of the material here concerns itself with Ellison’s devotion to his religion. Along with being the first Muslim to hold his office, he historically is strongly vocal about Muslim Americans getting a fair shake in society. Continue Reading →

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A conversation with veteran actress Yolanda Ross

 

By Charles Hallman
Staff writer

 

Third in a multi-part series

 

Yolanda Ross made her lead screen debut in Stranger Inside, a 2001 HBO feature film that premiered at the Sundance Film Festival. She made her stage debut seven years later as a member of New York’s Labyrinth Theater Company. Since then, the actress have appeared in a dozen films, and her television roles that has reached double figures as well, including five episodes of HBO’s Treme. She also had a couple of roles specifically written for her, such as a part in David Mamet’s The Unit. “I was shocked, thrilled, and thankful — I was really amazed,” said Ross in a recent MSR phone interview. Continue Reading →

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PBS commemorates television show that featured the best in gospel music

 

 

By Charles Hallman
Staff writer

 

Over the course of three decades, the late Sid Ordower brought the greats and some-to-be greats in gospel music each week on local Chicago television. The likes of Albertina Walker, Mahalia Jackson, Mavis Staples — along with her sisters and their father, James Cleveland, and Otis Clay routinely appeared on Jubilee Showcase, a half-hour long show that ran from 1963-1984. Beginning November 30 and throughout the month of December, PBS will air a 50th anniversary commemorative television special on Jubilee Showcase, said his son Steve Ordower in a recent MSR phone interview. “He was an owner-operator [of his shows], which was pretty rare back in those days,” he explains. “Unfortunately, the first 13 episodes were erased, and he was livid. Continue Reading →

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Web series addresses stereotypes about African Americans

 

 

By Charles Hallman
Staff writer

 

Angela Tucker two years ago pitched her series idea on challenging racial stereotypes of Blacks. The third season of Black Folk Don’t premiered December 2 on BlackPublicMedia.org, the National Black Programming Coalition (NBPC) website. “Season three is going to spark conversations in homes and offices around the country as well as online,” predicts Black Public Media Digital Media Director Nonso Christian Ugbode. “People take sides and even question the audacity of the assertions that are raised in the show.”

A writer, director and producer, Tucker wrote on her blog a couple of years ago that she prefer “[regular Black] people that had original points of views and were articulate” rather using “being Black” experts. “At first, we were going to reach out to people via social networks… Continue Reading →

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The 2012 MSP International Film Festival darling returns

 

 

They wiggled, they jiggled, they wore low cut gowns and short shorts, they kowtowed to the club owners and smiled at the customers…and they did it all, just to play the music they loved. The Girls in the Band tells the poignant, untold stories of female jazz and big band instrumentalists and their fascinating, groundbreaking journeys from the late 30′s to the present day. These incredibly talented women endured sexism, racism and diminished opportunities for decades, yet continued to persevere, inspire and elevate their talents in a field that seldom welcomed them. Today, there is a new breed of gifted young women taking their rightful place in the world of jazz, which can no longer deny their talents. The Girls in the Band is playing at St. Continue Reading →

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Noelle Scaggs from Fitz and The Tantrums talks touring, music and her three wishes

 

 

 

 

By Junauda Petrus
Contributing Writer

“I love the rush of performing on stage, and watching the emotional responses from the crowd,” says Noelle Scaggs the dynamic co-lead singer extraordinaire of Fitz and the Tantrums. “It’s always a great challenge for me to get the most stoic person in the room dancing and shouting towards the end of the show.”

Fitz and The Tantrums brought their “soul-influenced indie-pop,” to the metro area when they performed club Myth in Maple Grove November 21. The L.A. based band has created a name for themselves with soon-to-be pop classics from their second and most recent studio album, More Then Just a Dream, which was released in May of this year to critical and popular acclaim. The forming of the band, much like its sound, was from a place of impulse, synchronicity, fun and inspiration. Lead singer, Michael “Fitz” Fitzpatrick formed the band from friend and fellow musician Saxophonist James King, who recommended singer Scaggs and Drummer John Wicks. When Wicks brought in bassist Joseph Karnes and keyboardist Jeremy Ruzumna to the clique of Fitz, the synchronicity was apparent and unstoppable. Continue Reading →

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